WASHINGTON, D.C. — The first farm bill conference committee meeting has been set for Sept. 5.
The conferees from the House and Senate will try to iron out differences between their two bills in the panel, which includes all of North Dakota’s congressional delegation — Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer and the state’s two U.S. senators Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican John Hoeven.
Minnesota is represented on the panel by two Democratic House members, Rep. Collin Peterson, who represents most of western Minnesota and serves as the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Tim Walz, a member of the ag committee who recently won the primary to be the Democratic candidate for governor of Minnesota.
There are nine senators and 47 House members on the conference committee.
Cramer, who is representing the House Energy and Commerce panel, said a lot of work has already gone into reconciling the bill by staff and conference committee leadership.
“But this will allow us to make the final push on this legislation so critical to North Dakota producers,” he said.
Heitkamp said, “With the trade war hurting commodity prices, it’s more important than ever that we pass a farm bill on time to give North Dakota producers some much-needed certainty. The current farm bill expires at the end of September, so we don’t have a minute to waste. The Senate is in session through August, and I’m ready and eager to get to work just as soon as the House gets done with its five-week summer recess.”
The Senate has presented a strong bipartisan bill, while the House bill failed to attract any Democratic votes. One of the main sticking points has been the House’s plan to expand rules requiring more food stamp recipients to work and in more hours.